South Carolina can now move forward with plans to build I-73, thanks to a new program that allows tolling to pay for new interstate highways, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters recently announced.
"The I-73 project is a great example of leaders at the state and local level using tolling as a solution to traffic problems," Secretary Peters said. "Local drivers and tourists will benefit from the speed, safety and reliability that a less congested road will bring."
Secretary Peters said I-73 in South Carolina is the first project to have a slot reserved under the Department's new Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program, which also would allow other states to expand 1-73.
Participation in the program will allow South Carolina to use certain types of federal-aid highway funds along with other public and private revenue to construct, operate and maintain I-73. The program does not offer specific funding but gives states authority to raise revenue through tolling.
South Carolina plans to build an 80-mile stretch of new interstate highway connecting I-73/I-74 south of Rockingham, North Carolina, to the Myrtle Beach area on the coast, linking the two states to support economic growth and tourism in the region, as well as emergency evacuation.
"States looking for funding solutions now have more options to consider when building vital transportation projects," Federal Highway Administrator J. Richard Capka added.